Pickleball welcomes new players in Las Vegas — VIDEO

It seemed like somebody had made a mistake a few weeks ago when a group of racket sports fans gathered on the pool and tennis deck of the Plaza to knock a few balls around.

Instead of standard tennis rackets, they found oversized paddles that resembled pizza peels, wiffle-like balls that kids might play with at a family picnic, and tennis courts that just seemed slightly off-kilter.

But all was well, because the game they came to play was pickleball, an amalgam of pingpong, badminton and tennis that no less than NBC News has called one of the fastest-growing sports in America.

The odd name is perfect for an all-ages game that incorporates the strategy and skills of other racket sports but doesn’t require powerful shots to win. In fact, Isaac Johnson, a tournament competitor and instructor for the Plaza’s pickleball clinics, says pickleball is “very patience-oriented.”

Several parks in Southern Nevada have pickleball courts. At the Plaza, a renovation of the pool and tennis deck about 18 months ago included the installation of 12 pickleball courts, as well as a tennis court that can be converted into four more.

Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel says all he knew about pickleball was that it was “some sort of cross between tennis and badminton and pingpong.”

Then he met some players. “I was blown away by their passion and love for the game,” Jossel says. “I said, ‘I’m going to build a facility here.’ ”

Jossel says the Plaza is the only pickleball-ready hotel in town, and it has hosted a few tournaments. A few weeks ago, it also hosted the first of two scheduled pickleball mixers — the second is scheduled for Thursday, with instruction at 5 p.m. and play beginning at 6 — at which the curious can learn about the game and try their hand on the courts.

In addition, the Plaza and Las Vegas’ parks and recreation department will host weekly pickleball scramblers at the Plaza starting Jan. 11. The courts are available to locals for daily open play.

Sam Brooks, 33, lives in downtown Las Vegas and saw a flier for December’s mixer at his condo building. It was his first pickleball experience.

“It was fun,” Brooks says. “I kind of fell for a minute, but I got back in and kept playing.”

Pickleball has “a lot of the same fundamentals as tennis and pingpong,” adds Brooks, who plans to stop by again to learn more about the game.

For Linda Williams, 60, of North Las Vegas, pickleball’s appeal is “cardio and fun people.”

“We used to play tennis, but we can’t do that anymore,” she says. “There’s too much running around.”

Felton Hyche, a North Las Vegas ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association, has been playing for about three years. Hyche, 67, is a golfer and tennis player, and initially rebuffed his wife’s suggestion to give pickleball a try after she had tried and enjoyed it.

“It’s a very strange name,” he says. “It scares you.”

But Hyche discovered that the game gave him a good workout. He enjoys the fun and competition, and says it even has helped him to lose weight and get off of his hypertension medications.

“And here’s a crazy thing. I am not a social person at all. If there is a group, I will walk away and go sit in the corner,” Hyche says. “But this game is an extremely social game because you’ve got four people playing and you’re laughing and joking. It’s wonderful.”

About that name …

According to the USA Pickleball Association, pickleball was invented in Washington state during the summer of 1965 by three dads whose kids had become bored with the usual summer games.

Why call it “Pickleball”? One account, according to the association, holds that one of the inventors’ wives called the game pickleball because the combination of sports used to create it brought to mind “the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

Another story, this one from one of the inventors, holds that the sport was named after another inventor’s family dog, Pickles, who’d chase and run away with the ball.

Pickleball boot camp

To promote local interest in pickleball and teach players the fundamentals of the game, the Plaza this month will kick off a series of monthly pickleball boot camps taught by professionals.

The first, scheduled for Jan. 19-20, will feature pros Ben Johns and Christine McGrath. Classes are limited to 30 participants, and the $300 cost includes a meet and greet, four hours of instruction per day, lunches, tickets to the Scintas show, discounted room rates, gaming vouchers and a steakhouse discount.

To reserve, email pickleball@playlv.com

The Plaza also is finalizing a large-scale pickleball tournament that would be held in September.

The event would be similar in scope to the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships, which are to be held in Florida in April. Details are to be announced.

Contact John Przybys at reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

North Las Vegas Pedestrian-cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 7 Highlights
Highlights from the 7th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Jessica Routier
NFR Barrel Racer Jessica Routier talks about being at her first NFR, her horses, and her family with Cassie Soto in front of Thomas & Mack before round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo.
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
NFR Time Lapse 2018
Watch Thomas & Mack Center transform from a basketball court to an arena fit for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Video courtesy of Las Vegas Events.
RJ's Mark Anderson on the UNLV loss
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Joel Ntambwe on performance against Illinois
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about the 18 points he scored against Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Amauri Hardy on loss at Illinois
UNLV guard Amauri Hardy talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Marvin Menzies on loss at Illinois
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition. Roman was born Dec. 13, 2017 and has been at Sunrise Children Hospital with a rare heart condition since. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
NFR 2018: Unique Gifts At Cowboy Christmas
Before you head over to the Thomas and Mack for NFR, be sure to check out some of the unique and one of a kind items at Cowboy Christmas!
NFR: Dale Brisby
Day two of the National Finals Rodeo has started and Premier Vegas Sports host Cassies Soto interviews social media influencer Super Puncher Dale Brisby.
103-year-old celebrates birthday at gym
Joe Rosa of Las Vegas celebrated his 103rd birthday celebration at 24 Hour Fitness in Summerlin Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. After being the victim of a hit-and-run crash, Rosa's medical team told him he would never walk again. Rosa credits physical therapy and a personal trainer at the club for his return to health. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson native Mason Clements finished second in NFR bareback go-round
Mason Clements discusses his second-place bareback ride on opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on where UNLV stands at this point
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about where UNLV stands at this point in the season. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
The Mob Museum
Saddle bronc rider Joey Sonnier earns spot at NFR after overcoming years of drug addiction
Joey Sonnier started saddle bronc riding at 18, but at 20 he began using methamphetamine to cope with the work of the rodeos and became addicted. At 39, after years of addiction and a low point that pushed him to rehab, he's qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Core Arena opens at the Plaza downtown in time for NFR
Core Arena, downtown's first permanent outdoor equestrian center, opens to the public at the Plaza. The arena will be used for events throughout the year, including the 10-day 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like